1st Edition

Religion, Gender, and the Public Sphere

ISBN 9780415843843
Published June 26, 2013 by Routledge
320 Pages

USD $160.00

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Book Description

The re-emergence of religion as a significant cultural, social and political, force is not gender neutral. Tensions between claims for women’s equality and the rights of sexual minorities on one side and the claims of religions on the other side are well-documented across all major religions and regions. It is also well recognized in feminist scholarship that gender identities and ethno-religious identities work together in complex ways that are often exploited by dominant groups. Hence, a more comprehensive understanding of the changing role and influence of religion in the public sphere more widely requires complex, multidisciplinary and comparative gender analyses.

Most recent discussion on these matters, however, especially in Europe, has focused primarily on the perceived subordinate status of Muslim women. These debates are a reminder of the deep interrelation of questions of gender, identity, human rights and religious freedom more generally. The relatively narrow (albeit important) purview of such discussions so far, however, underscores the need to extend the horizon of enquiry vis-à-vis religion, gender and the public sphere beyond the binary of ‘Islam versus the West’. Religion, Gender and the Public Sphere moves gender from the periphery to the centre of contemporary debates about the role of religion in public and political life. It offers a timely, multidisciplinary collection of gender-focused essays that address an array of challenges arising from the changing role and influence of religious organisations, identities, actors and values in the public sphere in contemporary multicultural and democratic societies.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Religion, Gender, and the Public Sphere: Mapping the Terrain Niamh Reilly  Part 1: Identity, Religion, Migration, and Multiculture  1.Cultural Agency, Critical Agency: Multicultural Feminist Perspectives Sawitri Saharso  2. Religion and Gender in Contemporary Political Projects of Belonging Nira Yuval-Davis  3. Gendering Religious Capital: A Case Study of Female Mainland Chinese Migrants in Hong Kong Sam Wong  4. Gendering Religious Authority in the Diaspora: Shii Women in Ireland Yafa Shanneik  Part 2: Contesting Religous Subjectivities  Introduction Eilís Ward  5. The End of "Woman" and the Ends of Women: A Reflection on Women’s Rights in the Context of Catholicism and the Abortion Debate Tina Beattie  6.Contesting Subjectivities: Feminist Hermeneutics of Sikh Scripture Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh  7. The Gendered Politics of Religious Intimacies Stephanie Y. Mitchem  8. Gender, Buddhism, and the Bhikkhuni Ordination: Transnational Strategies for the Feminist Transformation of Religion in the 21st Century Emma Tomalin  9. Rebellious Bodies and Disordered Desires: The Challenge of Transsexuality to Influential Christian Theologies of Creation Duncan Dormor Part 3:Religion, Law, and Human Rights  Introduction Niamh Reilly  10. Safeguarding Religious Freedom and Gender Equality: The Case For and Against Uniform European Human Rights Standards Titia Loenen  11. Strengthening Women’s Rights in Contexts of Legal Pluralism: The Example of Mahr (Dower) Practices by Pakistani Muslims in Denmark Rubya Mehdi  12. Regulating Women's Bodies in the Jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights Esra Demir Gürsel  13. Guardianship in Marriage: Gender and Islamic Law in Palestine Fadwa Al-Labadi  14. The Right to Religion: Equal Right or Male Right? Alison Stuart  Part 4: Religion, States, and Civil Society  Introduction Rachel Pokora  15. Contentious Encounters: A Comparison of Developments in the Contemporary Indian and Pakistani Women’s Movements’ Relationships with Islam Nida Kirmani  16. Feminist Politics and the Governance of Migrant Integration through Religious Organizations Breda Gray  17. Defending Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Poland: A Pro-Choice Catholic Perspective Anka Grzywacz  18. Religious Persecution in Eritrea and the Role of the European Union in Tackling the Challenge Daniel R. Mekonnen and Mirjam van Reisen  Part 5: Researching Religion, Constructing Knowledge: Theoretical Revisions and Methodological Challenges  Introduction Stacey Scriver  19. Demythologizing Gender and Religion within Nation-States: Toward a Politics of Disbelief Naomi R. Goldenberg  20. From Fraternité to Mixité: Notes on How Gender Matters to the Secular Sarah Bracke  21. Exploring Religion, Sexuality, and Identity in Context: Reflections on Sociological Perspectives Vesna Malesevic  22. Conclusion: Gender Justice and the "Postsecular" Public Sphere: Toward Non-Oppressive Reconfigurations Niamh Reilly and Stacey Scriver

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Niamh Reilly is Co-director of Global Women's Studies and a Senior Lecturer in the School of Political Science and Sociology, National University of Ireland, Galway. She has published widely on transnational women's movements, feminist theory and human rights and is author of Women's Human Rights: Seeking Gender Justice in a Globalizing Age (2009).

Stacy Scriver is a postdoctoral research associate in the School of Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway. Her primary research interests lie at the intersection of national identity, religion and gender. She has published in journals including the Journal of Power, Organization, and Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society and is co-author of Rape and Justice in Ireland (2009).


"Religion, Gender and the Public Sphere contributes to a timely and generative re-thinking of gender and its place in contemporary debates over religion, secularism and the public sphere."Heather White, New College of Florida, USA

"The volume represents solid scholarship, and is particularly valuable in terms of its critical and interrogative stance on the construction and unproblematized oppositions of the “religious” and the “secular” in general, or of the “secular” West and the “religious” non-Western world more specifically. It would be especially valuable as a classroom text for modules dealing with religion, culture and gender." - Susannah Cornwall, University of Exeter, UK